Code of Conduct

for Members of the Board, the Nominating Committee, Standing and Advisory Committees, School Councils and Appeals Panels

1. Introduction

As a body which is responsible for the education of young people and which receives public money in the form of a subvention from the Hong Kong Government, ESF expects the highest standards from those who serve on the Board, the Nominating Committee, the Standing and Advisory Committees, School Councils and any Appeals Panel. This Code of Conduct, which all members will be required to sign and abide by, sets out the expected standards of behaviour. It is designed to protect and enhance the reputation of ESF and to reflect our values.

2. ESF’s Values

We have consulted extensively within our organisation in order to develop a statement of values that reflects our distinctive character as an educational organisation. Our statement of values is incorporated within the ESF Professional Code, which describes the mutual obligations to each other of ESF as an organisation and the leaders, managers, teachers and support staff whose expertise and commitment lie at the heart of the service it gives to students and parents.

As members of ESF, we commit to:

  • being passionate about learning and teaching;
  • having high expectations for every student;
  • empowering the people we work with;
  • discovering and building talent;
  • respecting the needs and rights of others;
  • fostering cultural understanding;
  • building trust through demonstrating integrity;
  • being accountable for what we do and the resources we use;
  • taking care of our environment to help ensure the future of our world;
  • continually improving our practice

It is vital that ESF’s values are displayed in the behaviour of all those who play a significant part in leading and supporting our organisation as well as of those who work and study within it.

3. Code of Conduct

3.1 Acting in Good Faith

The paramount duty of all members of the Board and its associated bodies is to act in good faith and in the interests of ESF as a whole, its schools and its students. The seven principles of public life are integral to all that we do. They are: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. No member of the Board or its associated bodies must ever bring ESF’s name into disrepute.

3.2 Mutual Respect

Members of the Board, the Committees and School Councils must treat each other, employed staff, parents, students and the wider community with respect. This means recognising that other people may have a different point of view so that we speak and listen to each other with courtesy and adhere to the standards set out in this code.

3.3 Playing a Full Part

Members of the Board, and its associated bodies, can only serve ESF and the schools well if they exercise care, continuously develop their skills and generally display due diligence. This means spending some time visiting schools and playing a part in school life as well as attending meetings regularly and giving committee papers due attention.

3.4 Accountability and Transparency

All members of the Board and its associated bodies must assist ESF in developing trusting relationships with stakeholders. We need to work hard at ensuring that we have robust monitoring and reporting procedures in place, that judgements are based on evidence and that we communicate appropriately with those who have a legitimate interest in our work.

3.5 Disclosure of Interest

All members of the Board, and its associated bodies, must declare every year any interest of a pecuniary or personal kind, which may have an impact on their role as a member (and update this declaration if their circumstances change in the course of the year). The Register of these declarations will be kept by the Board and made available to the public. Members are required to declare at any meeting any pecuniary or personal interest they may have in a particular item. Members must not vote on any matter in which they have a pecuniary interest. The Chairman has discretion to decide whether a member may speak on an item in which they have an interest.

3.6 Confidentiality and Media Relations

It is inevitable that some items of business must remain confidential to the Board, the Committee or the School Council or Panel either for commercial reasons or because they concern individuals and may involve areas of personal or professional sensitivity. Members must respect the confidentiality of such matters. The Board, the Committee or the School Council should have an agreed strategy for dealing with the media which would normally make it the responsibility of the Chairman, the Chief Executive or the Principal of the school to take a lead in communicating with journalists.

3.7 Complaints

Members of the Board, the Committees and School Councils may receive complaints from time to time from stakeholders or members of the public. Such complaints should normally be referred in the first instance to the Principal of the school or to the Chief Executive.

In the case of a matter of serious concern where corruption or other wrong-doing may be suspected, a member should have recourse to the ICAC or other appropriate authority in Hong Kong.

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3.8 Self-Review

In the interests of the continual improvement of all aspects of the work of ESF and its schools, the Board, the Committees and School Councils should adopt a regular process of self-review. Members should be willing to participate in and receive judgement based on the self-review process.

3.9 Insurance

Members of the Board, the Committees and School Councils have responsibility for playing a significant part in the conduct of a public organisation. Therefore, they need protection against personal liability. The Ordinance relieves members of personal liability in civil proceedings for anything that is done or omitted to be done in good faith in the performance of their duties. ESF has also taken out Directors and Officers Liability Insurance and Educators Professional Liability Insurance to increase the level of protection.